Christmas Eve and Ordinary Joy
When I picture in my mind this turn from Advent to Christmas, it looks like a stream of water becoming larger and faster until it pours itself out into a big, beautiful sea.
And, I do think it is like that. But, it is also like sitting next to a friend at the Christmas Eve church service. It is getting up and making the traditional Christmas morning cinnamon rolls. It is heading to the kitchen to prepare the turkey or ham or (in our case) the Beef Bourguignon soup. It is cleaning up the mess of wrapping paper. It is a big sandwich made with leftover everything and eaten in front of the fire.
In other words, Christmas is both extraordinary (like frosty starlight and Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”) and beautifully ordinary (meals cooked and shared, phone calls made and received).
We all know this. We have all lived this. We have seen Christmas come and go, again and again. But I mention it because it is so easy, with the waiting and the longing, to forget that what we have been waiting for is mostly already with us. Not entirely, no, but more and more every year Christ is with us and his kingdom is more fully realized.
Perhaps, what we have been waiting for is not more of Jesus, necessarily, but eyes that are open more widely to the fact that he is always and already with us – in so many seemingly ordinary ways.
And so I wish you an ordinary Christmas. A Christmas of friendship and special food and thoughtful gifts. A Christmas of candlelight and carols and maybe a hand to hold or, if not that, a very good book.
I wish you a Merry Christmas.